Open handed drumming - ideal drum/cymbal placement for a right handed drummer?

Drumolator

Platinum Member
I am left handed and right footed. So a little over fifty years ago when I got my first drum set, I started playing open handed. Here is a picture of my setup. Peace and goodwill.

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PaisteGuy

Active Member
Charlie Benante of Anthrax uses two Rides. If Your able to get another Ride, say 20” and put that left side, that will help build dexterity and comfort over the long haul. It appears You would have to move the kit away from the wall on the left side. But that set up may be helpful.
 

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aarono2690

Junior Member
Charlie Benante of Anthrax uses two Rides. If Your able to get another Ride, say 20” and put that left side, that will help build dexterity and comfort over the long haul. It appears You would have to move the kit away from the wall on the left side. But that set up may be helpful.
Yeah I definitely need to move it to a better position. I’m limited due to how close I am to the left wall.

Side note the accoustics in this room are horrendous. Any tips for stuff to add so it’s not so harsh sounding in this room?
 

Huw Owens

Active Member
Getting back to the music stand, what works for me is this:

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It's easier to deal with having cymbals shifted a bit to accommodate it IMHO. No twisting to read.

(Full disclosure, I'm old & unfit, so I think about pain from twisting a lot, lol)

:)
 

PaisteGuy

Active Member
Yeah I definitely need to move it to a better position. I’m limited due to how close I am to the left wall.

Side note the accoustics in this room are horrendous. Any tips for stuff to add so it’s not so harsh sounding in this room?
Depends on Your Budget, but I would start with acoustic foam panels in the corners. Then if needed, put a few up across from the kit.
 

BGDurham

Well-known Member
I play open-handed. I keep my ride on the right because my left hand still isn't strong enough to do all the cymbal work for a gig and playing the ride with my right gives my left a rest.

I also use a music stand during rehearsals and I put it just behind the high hat and slightly to the right (about 1:30). Where @Drumolator's left-most crash is. When performing my trash cymbal goes there.

Personally, my bass drum is virgin and I have my 10 and 12 toms on a double tom stand just left of the kick and centered immediately behind the snare.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
Yeah I definitely need to move it to a better position. I’m limited due to how close I am to the left wall.

Side note the accoustics in this room are horrendous. Any tips for stuff to add so it’s not so harsh sounding in this room?

I'd add good quality and comfortable hearing protection over treating the walls, at least at first. I wear Earacers if I just want to take the edge off of the drum sound, but 98% of the time I'm wearing in-ear monitors or isolation headphones when I practice or play drums.
 

aarono2690

Junior Member
I play open-handed. I keep my ride on the right because my left hand still isn't strong enough to do all the cymbal work for a gig and playing the ride with my right gives my left a rest.

I also use a music stand during rehearsals and I put it just behind the high hat and slightly to the right (about 1:30). Where @Drumolator's left-most crash is. When performing my trash cymbal goes there.

Personally, my bass drum is virgin and I have my 10 and 12 toms on a double tom stand just left of the kick and centered immediately behind the snare.
Can you see and reach your material on the stand easily?
 

aarono2690

Junior Member
I'd add good quality and comfortable hearing protection over treating the walls, at least at first. I wear Earacers if I just want to take the edge off of the drum sound, but 98% of the time I'm wearing in-ear monitors or isolation headphones when I practice or play drums.
I got a pair of GK UltraPhones on Friday.
 

dcrigger

Senior Member
Personally I would have those toms mounted on that bass drum in a red hot second. If for no reason than the force the set-up to be so wide from left to right. I can never get comfortable (or feel stable) with my legs spread so far apart (makes me feel like a wishbone after Thanksgiving dinner).

But before that my main question would be (as it is to every right handed drummer pondering doing this).... why??? For the life of me I can't imagine what the perceived advantages might be - that would even begin to outweigh the laundry list of disadvantages...

I admire a great many open handed players - but also know that (with very few exceptions), they were left-handed players coming up with a practical solution for how to function in a right handed world - mainly how to sit-in and how to sub.... both mainstay activities for anyone pursuing a career.

For them (left handed players), playing open-handed on a right handed kit solved a very practical problem. And IMO if you want to play like them - enjoy the advantages and work through the disadvantages - you would do what they did... Play right-handed in open position on a left handed kit.... because that's what most of them did.... They kept their dominant hand on the ride and sub-dominant hand on the backbeats - and figured out how to cope with their sub-dominant foot on the bass drum.

But of course anything can be accomplished if one throws enough time and effort at it.... but again, that brings me back to.... why? Are there not other things to work on? Other skills as yet unmastered? That leaves this pursuit taking....

But beyond, the obvious why?

I would suggest getting everything closer together. Music stands - in my experience, over the bass drum is a bad idea unless you absolutely know you are never going to quickly move from one chart to the next and/or have to turn pages... Plus it looks pretty horrible on stage. So mine goes up and a bit over my hi-hat - minimizing the neck turn as much as possible - and allowing for ease page turns with my non-dominant hand.

Best of luck with all of this...
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Harry Miree's spin on open handed drumming.


 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
I threw pieces of cardboard in corners and across longer walls along the floor. Not as good as acoustic treatment, but it’s free ;)
 

Ian S

Member
Edit due to drunken rambling..

In the end you've got to put stuff where you can make the most sense of it when playing and often this means keep it simple and don't overthink it.

Personally I've started in the last couple of years playing some amount open handed, but I never changed anything thing about my setup, which is a very "normal" right handed setup. The point was to get my arms uncrossed for comfort, and to have left hand take more responsibility.
 
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C. Dave Run

Silver Member
My open handed setup:

20220808_060337.jpg

I've also had the hats and rack tom swapped. I can play the left ride comfortably with either hand, hats too.
 

aarono2690

Junior Member
Edit due to drunken rambling..

In the end you've got to put stuff where you can make the most sense of it when playing and often this means keep it simple and don't overthink it.

Personally I've started in the last couple of years playing some amount open handed, but I never changed anything thing about my setup, which is a very "normal" right handed setup. The point was to get my arms uncrossed for comfort, and to have left hand take more responsibility.
Someone asked me earlier - why play open handed? Tbh it feels more natural for me. I never liked the cross over feeling playing hats. When I played on a friend’s kit in college I started by playing open and quickly heard, “that’s not how you play. You need to cross over like this.” I tried it and it felt weird. Obviously my right hand is better, but I’m working as best as I can to strengthen my left.

I also feel like I can move around with more fluidity open.
 
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